I recently tried to brew an Aeropress using a recipe based on French press brewing. I decided to let coarse coffee grounds brew for four minutes like I would with a French press. Then, I affixed the filter cap to the Aeropress, flipped the device, and pressed down the plunger. I was curious whether the Aeropress is a good substitute for the French press when brewing for one person.
I was able to produce a tasty brew. But I have been thinking about what this has taught me about coarser grinds. I never thought about using a coarser grind with the Aeropress. Most of the recipes I’ve read call for a fine grind, closer to an espresso grind than, say, a filter coffee grind. I have always ground fine and I now realise this is why I had some trouble plunging before I got my electric grinder.
I have been playing around with my grind over the last day or so and I have noticed that a slightly coarser grind is good. I am presently using a grind two settings higher than the Baratza Encore’s recommendation for the Aeropress. The manufacturers’ recommendation is the 12 setting. I have found that my coffee tastes between at 14 than it does at 12, all other factors in my brewing being equal.
I just went to look at the World Aeropress Championship recipes and I noticed many recent champions have used a coarse grind, some going into what the web page describes as “very course.” I had not thought about using a coarser grind with the Aeropress.
My next experiment will be to use an even coarser grind. Perhaps some champions use coarser grinds because they use more coffee, sometimes double what I use. My recipe calls for 14g of coffee. So I would like to keep my eye out for a loss of complexity in the cup. But I am curious to see how my brew changes as I try different grinds. Maybe I will be able to produce a sweeter, more pleasant brew at the 16 setting on my grinder. Or maybe that will be too coarse.